For some reason I do not remember a whole lot about the Seattle APA Conference. Maybe it was the fact that as a student delegate, I spent more time in meetings than in actual sessions. Personally, I would have preferred to go to the sessions. If you get into a good one, you can become inspired by a municipality or have a different perspective about an issue (The biggest topics back then were sprawl and air quality). At the very least you could admire graphics of the presentation because you know that we planners like pictures, graphs, and maps :). Anyway, good speakers were usually selected and it’s rare where I left a session asking myself if I could get back those two hours, although it has been known to happen. I think the other issue that I had during the Seattle Conference is that it was my second year at UNO and just before graduation. I was so stressed out because I had exams and my thesis, which seemed to be due at practically the same time. As I am writing this (while wrestling with a toddler), I do realize that do remember certain things from Seattle.
1) The Jet Lag – Seattle was the first time I had ever stepped foot on the West Coast. It had already been an adjustment going from East Coast to Central Time. So traveling from Central Time to West Coast time was no joke. I think that first day, my girls and I just collapsed in beds in our hotel room and slept for the rest of the evening.
2) Sightseeing – I know that we did some, but I can’t remember where. What sticks in my mind is the Fish Market and a Mexican Restaurant. Perhaps my girls can fill me in on the rest…?
3) The Party – Once again, UNO and all of the other universities were outnumbered by Alabama A and M (They knew how to represent). The conversations with the other students were great. Let me be real, I listened while my girls ‘Ms. A’ and ‘Ms. M’ conversed. (Refer to the first post – I’m the shy/reserved one). Unfortunately, I had to leave the mixer early when I grew ill.
4) Exams – Yes you read it right, I had a take-home exam that was due for Planning Theory the day after I returned from Seattle. I couldn’t stand that class. It may have actually been a good course with a different instructor but this dude loved giving out ‘Cs’ on G.P (I’m a teacher now and I still don’t find delight in failing my students) If you have ever attended Graduate School, then you know that you are only allowed two ‘Cs’ on your total transcript. I don’t like anyone who just plays with my grades because they can. Maybe others didn’t like that either because he’s no longer teaching at UNO.
5) My Cuz! – I have a first cousin who was attending the University of Washington at the time for his PHd. Of course I had to have breakfast with him.
6) Job Interview – I was a month away from graduation and I needed a job. That meant filling out applications. ‘Ms. M’ and I got a call from the planning director of Anderson, South Carolina for an interview. It must have gone well because a got a call for a second interview a week after graduation and the following week I was in Anderson working as a planner. Voila!
7) “My Wife and Kids” moment – Let me clarify. If you have ever seen the show “My Wife and Kids” with Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell-Martin and then you know they went on a trip to Hawaii and what happened to them, happened to me. I misread my plane ticket. I thought I was leaving Seattle at 1:00 when it actually read that I was leaving at 11:00. If there are any airline people reading this, I’m gonna really need you to fix that printing on the ticket. It cannot just be a coincidence that this situation was put into a television sitcom, but I digress. At the APA Conference, no matter what part of the country (or the world) people are from, everyone leaves for the airport at practically the same time, which means that you are waiting forever for the airport shuttle. So by the time I found out that I misread my ticket and that I needed to get my backside to the airport pronto, I was at the end of a very long line of planners. Inevitably, I missed my plane. Fortunately, Seattle is ‘Ms A’s’ home and I was able to hang with her and ‘Ms. M’ who were staying an extra day. I wish I had that option but I had to return to New Orleans to turn in my final… I was able to get on a standby flight for later that afternoon, but as you know, if you are flying back from the West Coast, you are losing time. If there is a layover in that flight, you are pretty much screwed, which I was. I didn’t get back to New Orleans until the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, I think I finished my final in Seattle. Nevertheless, I was falling asleep in Planning Theory.
8) The missing – Kevin was missing from this conference. When I saw him the following year at the Regional Conference in Atlanta, I let him know that I had been looking for him in Seattle. We have been together at conferences ever since.
So that’s all that I remember from the Seattle APA Conference. Friends, help me fill in the blanks.